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by Zsolt Szemerszky

Zsolt Szemerszky

Some disadvantages in Monaco…

Some disadvantages in Monaco…

Yes, magic always happens, but before you start to believe that this is a book that only showcases the glorious things about Monaco, I have to confess that it is not. It is about my own perspective and my own experiences, which sometimes provides a different side of the imagined world. 

Frankly, I had and continue to have countless great moments in the Principality, but during the time I spent in Monaco, I encountered some misunderstandings – or let’s say different viewpoints – on some local topics. People say that Monaco is just competitive, however, I find that some situations seem to be full of contrasts, which can be frustrating or at least confusing for foreign people. 

I believe as a person coming from another country and a different type of environment, I had a more diversified view on things than some of the people who had been living in Monaco for ages. It is normal, since in many cases we cannot observe little things around us which are usually obvious for people coming from outside of our world. 

Periodic things often become routines and we can easily get used to things without questioning or challenging their impacts on our life. In my business field, this is also the reason why I usually approach external advisors. Usually, they have a different, and in some cases, a fresh and out-of-the-box view. 

I have to admit that Monaco has a very strong economy compared to its surroundings. Even in Europe, not many countries can compete with the stabilised economy that the Principality of Monaco has maintained for decades. 

The Principality is also a great place to live, especially if you have the requested fund to settle down here. However, if you are coming to Monaco with the hope of finding a new job position and to settle down by hard work, it can have some difficulties for you. 

Despite its luxurious environment, the average monthly net earnings hardly go over the estimated average of 4,200 Euros. It may seem like a nice salary, but I would say it does not even cover the monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment. It may sound brutal, but it is good to understand why Monaco is so unique concerning its living costs. 

Of course, in some sectors, such as private banking and wealth management, Monaco offers exceptionally good salaries which may vary considerably from the average. However, these positions are rare, and still the biggest obstacle is not the salary at all. 

In the Principality of Monaco, any job position by regulation is first offered to the Monégasque people. No exceptions. In the second round, the residents are considered, and in the third round the people from the surroundings who have worked in Monaco before are taken into account. Foreign individuals are only considered after the previous three selection rounds have failed. And here comes the crude reality… 

Even if you have a chance to get a job position offered in the Principality of Monaco, the Employment Office has the power to refuse the employer’s choice and to deny the issuing of the work permit no matter how much you could contribute to your possible employer. 

From my personal point of view, and as an outsider, I believe it can easily raise a concern about the competency of some people’s skills and knowledge. While the Principality of Monaco has a competitive economy, sometimes an employer has to choose the candidate offered by the Principality instead of the one who is really capable to get the requested job done. It is a pity.

When you as a foreign nationality are aiming to get a job based in the Principality of Monaco, always try to negotiate and settle your conditions first. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is highly recommended to get every work permit before you arrive in Monaco. Otherwise, even if you have already rented an apartment, you might not be eligible for a residence permit. 

Getting a work permit in Monaco is hard. Never underestimate the government hierarchy for job applicants, because as a foreign national you belong to group 4, which is the last choice.

Therefore, even if you are an expert in your field with a proven track record (diplomas, MBA and other certificates), it is still not easy to get a foothold in the Principality. However ,when someone succeeds, she or he will enjoy all the benefits of Monaco. These benefits are sometimes very surprising ones. 

You can also find these contrasts in your everyday life. For example, when we are talking about daily living costs, you can see the ultra-expensive, but exceptionally high quality restaurants, the luxury bars and clubs. However, you can also find the discount chain Carrefour or Marche to provide to your daily needs at a lower price. Monaco offers you both exclusivity and affordability. 

I know that many people say that Monaco is one of the most expensive countries in the world, but in my opinion, the price is not the main obstacle in Monaco. Just think about it, Moscow, New York, London, Zurich or Singapore are also expensive. 

The important question you have to realise is not the money or the living expense; it is the size. To be honest even if the real-estate prices are going up, Monaco cannot increase its prices to a higher level. For example, Switzerland is different. If prices go up in an extreme way in Monaco, then people would leave and go to the surroundings. This would be a huge mistake for Monaco.

Once you have successfully settled, the main challenge is to be accepted in this closed circle – to be adopted into the Monaco family. And believe it or not, without a good moral, no matter how wealthy you are, money cannot buy you the residence permit. To be welcomed in Monaco as a long-term resident, it often relies on the balance of wealth, contribution and personal values. 

Being accepted in most of the circles of the Principality can take serious time and effort, which may seem much more difficult than in any other European country. So get ready… 

But to close these thoughts with a positive conclusion, I would remind you of the most well-known quote of mine: 

“Every mountain can be climbed – you 
just have to find the appropriate way to do it.
If you do not achieve your goal,
then you have not done everything to achieve it.
The secret of success is persistence!”

Therefore, do not forget that there is no such thing as impossible, and if you are persistent enough, the reward can be exceptional. In life, we have a greater appreciation for the things which we gain through fighting, because they are more than simple objects, they are symbols of our individual victories, and they all remind us that we are capable of achieving big and important things in our life.

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